Puzzling: The Puzzle Without an Answer

Something is happening, but the motivation isn’t apparent. The clues align but the bigger picture eludes comprehension. The films here portray experiments in logic, formal fragmentation, and ambiguity. They trouble traditional linearity and narrative order to uncover the unsayable or unknowable. Bodies move in tandem, homes are evacuated, animals attack. Larger puzzles are afoot here: life, loss, love, experience, death.

Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, Swamp, 1971, 6 min, digital
Kevin Eskew, Still Life, 2015, 3 min, digital
Basim Magdy, Turtles All The Way Down, 2009, 10 min, digital
Karen Yasinsky, Vera, 2018, 6.5 min, digital – in person
Bettina Hoffmann, Hold On, 2016, 5.5 min, digital
Jean-Paul Kelly, Movement in Squares, 2013, 13 min, digital – in person
Ruben Bellinkx, The Musical Chair, 2007, 10 min, 16mm
Dorothy Wiley, Miss Jesus Fries on Grill, 1973, 12 min, 16mm


Flaherty NYC’s PUZZLING: About the Series
A puzzle is something puzzling– it expects deduction and solution, while at the same time describes a condition of open confusion. The six-part series “Puzzling” considers these concurrent modes to explore different registers of knowing, the generative possibilities of uncertainty, and the film form as a choreography of sense and stimuli. How can a puzzle, as a challenge and as a structure, destabilize or shape the world? How are the boundaries of sense and non-sense policed? Human and non-human test subjects, compromised figures of authority, and metaphysical detectives populate the series, alongside inquiries on communication, abstraction, and agency.